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Do older people prefer spicy foods? Yes, according to the emerging science of smell and taste. At around 40, apparently, people’s taste buds start to fade. They lose the ability to taste, in particular, sweet and sour. But some foods do retain their impact: those in the category of “sensory irritants”—that is, foods such as chilli, pepper, horseradish and wasabi that work on the body not through taste or smell but through the “chemosensory system ” (which conveys temperature, touch, pain etc). And so the older you get, the more you seek such foods out.

In America, according to…

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